(More) Scary posts about NGR

(originally posted 11/18/09)

I am going to go on record as saying that H.P. Lovecraft is amazing.  I picked an excerpt from Herbert West–Reanimator because it has little to do with the long-winded Lovecraftian subplots and many people might recognize it from the movie (based upon the story).  It’s also a good pick because it has a strong vein of irony throughout along with a sense of foreboding and dark despair.  My reading seemed to go over really well with the audience despite my stuttering over Lovecraft’s damned page-long phrases.  If you want to educate yourself on classic horror and science fiction read Lovecraft.  If you like role-playing, you should PLAY “Call of Cthulhu”, and also you should invite me.  Thanks.

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I am a fan of classic things.  I’m sure you realized that from my reading of the ghost’s speech fromHamlet, with Cheeky Friday.  No, I don’t think it’s that scary.  No, it’s not THE BEST monologue Shakespeare ever wrote.  But listen: at the time that was an amazing twist to a story, and a good set of actors can make you feel pain and anger and sorrow from stolen life and family.  Am I the best actor?  No.  So I set out to make it kinda gay and sexy (if you can’t do ‘quality’, do ‘gay and sexy’).  Hopefully I accomplished that and hopefully I reminded people that musty old books you had to read in High School can be pretty good.  The words are old but the language flows and lends itself to being spoken out lout.  If you get ANY ideas from me staring into another naked girl’s eyes, let them be about reading Shakespeare to your best naked friend and realizing that it can be a wonderful experience for reasons other than how hot it is.

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My early childhood had a lot of Alvin Schwartz in it.  He’s the mastermind behind the elementary-level scary story books from my youth; such as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and More Scary Stories to tell in the Dark (the one I read from at NGR).  Does anyone remember having to sit in a circle and feeling the early budding of youthful suspense, only to have them ruined when the teacher has to interrupt herself and ask some kid to stop sneezing on people’s heads?

I also remember isolating myself on bus rides, all hunkered-down and reading the books to myself and getting freaked out by the wholly inappropriate illustrations (brought to you by Stephen Gammell).  Those plot points seemed interesting at the time and now they are humorously quaint and nostalgic.  That nostalgia made me want to read them to people at NGR.  Terrible scary stories are a pretty critical part of growing up (in my opinion) and dusting the old stories back off today, in a nude environment, adds some extra meaning to them.  They used to be intense, and lent me the reputation of being a weirdo, and now they are funny.  They used to be read in an upright and proper manner by teachers, and now they are read by naked girls to local Madisonians.  Do things and events  from your childhood now seen awkward and embarrassing, even stupid?  I feel that way all the time.   Do they have to be so terrible or can they be a good time again?  Can you own that thing again and make it naked?  OF COURSE.

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Oh, Wisconsin Death Trip, I saved writing about you for last because of how much I both love and hate you.  You are short and choppy and do not lend yourself to reading out loud.  You are depressing and no one who attended NGR came to look at your pictures.  (Why not?!  It has amazing pictures!). I actually wanted to quit reading you.  But that was all insecurity!  I actually think you are wonderful.

This is a book of true newspaper articles and pictures from the early 1900s in rural Wisconsin.  When you look in it you see gloom.  The number of people who went crazy from isolation is staggering.  Also the things that seem so unique to today.  Hey, modern America!  Do you think you invented poverty?  Do you think you invented a lower class and the upper class to spit on them?  You think maybe you invented political discord and alarmingly obsessive sexuality and unfairness?  No, you did not.  No one invented those; they were always there.  It’s always been so easy to have a bad life.  Hey, isn’t that scary?  No?  More depressing?  Try scarily depressing.  I feel oddlyconnected to people who were unhappy yeatrs ago; and oddly humbled.  We are all the same!  We are still the same!  But still.  Where has America gone in 100 years besides to the same place.  Discuss!

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~ by ngrblogadmin on January 11, 2010.

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